Our State Cat: The Calico

Did you know that we have a state cat? Back on October 1, 2001, the calico became our official mascot. Fluffy joined two other tricolored critters on our roster of official state animals: the Baltimore oriole, our official bird, and the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, our insect. A Ellicott City, MD vet discusses these cute kitties below.


Calico isn’t a breed, per se, though there are several breeds that officially allow the coloring. Rather, it is a specific type of pattern. The rules are simple but specific: calicos cats must be tri-colored, with the colors appearing in patches, rather than being mixed, such as they are with tortoiseshell kitties. Also, the colors themselves must also fall into three distinct categories: white; red or cream; and black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, or fawn. Some breed standards require that a certain amount of Fluffy’s body be white, but that isn’t always the case.

The Provision

How did Fluffy make the cut? You can find her in Chapter 194, Acts of 2001; Code General Provisions Article, sec. 7-302. As legend (and The Baltimore Sun) have it, it all started with a cat club in an Allegany County elementary school. Students wrote a letter to State Representative Kevin Kelly, who agreed to sponsor the bill. There are currently only two other official state kitties: Maine has adopted The Maine Coon, and Massachusetts has chosen the Tabby.


Calico cats are definitely a great choice for our official kitty. Not only do many calicos match the bird and butterfly mascots we mentioned earlier, they are also considered to be good luck, particularly in Japan. (Did we mention that they’re also adorable?)

Fun Facts

Calico kitties are almost always female: though a male one will appear occasionally, they are usually sterile. Breeders, unfortunately, have not fared well with reproducing more boys, as the lack of males is tied to genetics.


Calicos have the same basic need as any other feline: good food, clean water, and proper veterinary care. For proper purr activation, you’ll also need to provide Fluffy with comfy beds, toys, catnip, scratching stations, and, of course, lap space.


Is your kitty a calico? Offer Fluffy a special treat or a new toy in honor of her special status.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Ellicott City, MD animal clinic, today!

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